Thursday, January 31, 2008

What is your favorite seed company?

All month we have been seeing posts about the stacks of seed catalogs that appear in gardeners' mailboxes. I love reading about people's excitement for seed catalogs.

Just for the record, here is my new 2008 seed catalog collection:

I'm curious, what effect do all of these catalogs have on gardeners decisions as to where to buy their seeds? So what better way to find out then to ask some gardeners?

Do you buy your seeds from a catalog or catalogs, from the web or from your local store? If you buy from a seed company's catalog or website, which companies are your favorites and why? If you have an answer for me you can comment on this post or you can write a post of your own. If you do write a post about it, let me know and I will link to it.

Just in case I don't get many answers (or any), I’ll now let you know what my favorites are and why.

This year's top six! I have ordered from five of these in the past and this year I will order from a new one.

The company I ordered from for years is Park Seeds. I'm not sure why it was my first favorite. I guess I had success with their seeds and just kept ordering from them without trying any others.

Johnny's Selected Seeds is another favorite because they have many organic selections. I originally learned of them from Eliot Coleman.

Totally Tomatoes is a fun company because they are, well - totally tomatoes! I didn't know there were soooo many different varieties of tomatoes!

The catalog I order from the most is not even a seed catalog. Gardens Alive sells organic fertilizers and many great organic gardening supplements and supplies. I also like them because I used to work at their retail store.

Now for my all-time favorite, Pinetree Garden Seeds. Why are they my favorite? I'll admit it, - they're my favorite because I'm cheap! Pine tree has always offered the least expensive seeds, period. Most seed packets are still under a dollar! The seeds I've gotten from them have always produced very well. Their catalog is not very pretty or fancy. I actually appreciate that because they do seem to pass along the savings to their customers. I will always get the bulk of my seeds from Pine tree even while sampling other companies.

Now for the new catalog that impresses me; Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. They have many rare varieties and they are all heirloom seeds! Last year I began growing more heirloom tomatoes and I want to expand to include more heirloom vegetables this year. Not only do their selections look great, their catalog is beautiful! It is full of pictures and interesting designs. Simply paging through the catalog is a real treat.

Well there you have it. If you would like to write a comment or a post about your favorite seed catalog, yours doesn't have to be as long as mine. I tend to get carried away sometimes. Seriously, I really do want to hear about where you buy from and why. I'm sure I've been missing some great companies. I'll link to your posts in one of my future posts.

Have fun perusing through those catalogs and longing for Spring planting!

9 comments:

Nicole

This is my first year starting a veggie garden.. I looked up the extension office for varieties that grow well in my area and the first name that was listed was burpee... and that happend to be the same company I saw when I went to the store to pick out seeds and so it was easy to match the varieties! Maybe next year I will venture out and try different ones.

Entangled

A couple of companies I like that I didn't see in your photos are Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Nichols Garden Nursery. I've ordered from them in the past and plan to order from them both again this year. Nichols is not sending out catalogs this year (cutting down on costs and carbon footprint), but I think they'll still send one on request.

Harmony

I like Southern Exposure, too. Personally, I shop exclusively online. I like looking at the pictures, and it's also very easy to search for the variety and see what other people thought about it. But then again, I've never received a seed catalog in the mail, so I don't really know what I'm missing.

Green River Hill

I love these catalogs as well! Particularly, Fedco and Turtle Tree Biodynamic seeds. We've just started a small business www.greenriverhill.biz, offering collections of organic seeds especially for new gardeners or as gifts....would appreciate any feedback or ideas from fellow garden seed lovers info@greenriverhill.biz

Curtis

I like a couple of companies. Park seeds and Burpee seeds.

I have ordered from Parks many times and bought Burpee seeds from the store.

Now that I have read this post I am looking at Tottaly tomatoes and Baker Creek. I am looking for two heirloom tomatoes. Cherokee Purple and Black Krim.

Marc

Looks like I need to check out Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, Nichols Garden Nursery and Green River Hill.

I buy some Burpee seeds from the store as well, Curtis. I grew Black Krim last year and they were great! Black Krim and Cherokee Purple are both good choices!

I will be posting my complete tomato list for 2008 very soon. I'm having trouble narrowing them down to under twenty different kinds!

Patrick

While I always buy a few seeds every year, mostly I save my own seeds and trade with others. Since you can't save seeds from commercial F1 varieties, almost by definition what you save is heirloom, higher quality and more interesting. Among other things, when you save your own seeds the varieties become acclimated to your garden and become more productive.

In fact, if you want cheap seeds, there are many seed savers around willing to send you seeds from their garden for the price of postage alone.

Since I save my own seeds, when I do buy them I only buy them from companies that sell exclusively heirloom or open pollinated (OP) seeds. Companies that sell both F1 and OP varieties are normally bound by marketing agreements not to clearly distinguish between the two kinds, so you never know what you are getting.

Of companies located in the US that sell OP or heirloom varieties, Baker Creek is probably my favorite. Their prices are good, the selection is very good and the quality of their seeds is high. They are also very honest and friendly people. The only negative thing is I find some of their seeds a little boring sometimes (which isn't always bad).

For more exciting seeds, I like the Seed Savers Exchange website. Be prepared to pay for exciting, because their seeds are a lot more expensive. They have some excellent tomatoes by the way.

Other excellent places for OP/heirloom seeds are The Victory Seed Company, Bountiful Gardens and Sand Hill Preservation.

I like Southern Exposure, but I think their prices are too high and packet size too small to make them a good value. I buy things from them when I can't find them anywhere else.

Connie

I had to smile when I saw your "top 6" as they are some of my favorites as well. Have been ordering from Pinetree for many years, as I like to try new things and their small packets (and small prices) allow me to do so. I also love Gardens Alive.... I get lots of comments on my healthy tomato plants, which I attribute to their 'Tomatoes Alive' product.
This was also my first year to order from Baker Creek. I was disappointed that there were no growing instructions on the packets ....you have to go to their website to get them. For tomatoes that would be no big deal, but I grow quite a few heirloom flowers and they all have specific needs.
I also place a good sized order each year with Nichols and have always had good success with their seeds, both flower and vegetable.

tbalch

You should try High Mowing Seed company - they carry some really great tomatoes and other veggies that aren't in other catalogs... I love High Mowing Seeds!!

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